Cranberry Cardamom Spice Muffins

Homemade cranberry cardamom spice muffins combine favorite holiday flavors into one muffin. Each bite is bursting with fresh cranberries, orange, walnuts, cinnamon, and cardamom. The perfect fall breakfast, snack, or dessert!

cranberry cardamom spice muffins with orange icing on a white plate

Your search for the perfect cold weather weekend breakfast (or snack!) ends here. Today we’re making cranberry cardamom spice muffins– oodles of tart cranberries in a sweet orange scented batter with walnuts and plenty of delicious holiday cardamom spice flavor. I call it “November in a muffin.” 😉


These Cranberry Cardamom Spice Muffins Are:

  • Tart and sweet
  • Perfectly spiced with warm fall flavors
  • Extra soft, buttery, and moist
  • Loaded with tart cranberries, fresh orange, and crunchy walnuts
  • A texture lover’s dream!
  • Drizzled with a sweet orange icing
  • Super quick– ready in just 35 minutes

overhead image of cranberry cardamom spice muffins

cranberry cardamom spice muffin batter in a glass stand mixer bowl

Behind The Recipe

I turned to my trusty master muffin recipe as the base of these Thanksgiving inspired muffins. What’s a master muffin recipe? It’s 1 muffin batter that can produce all sorts of different muffin varieties and flavors. Here are some of my other muffin recipes that begin with the same base muffin recipe: apple crumb muffins, peach streusel muffins, cranberry orange muffins, strawberry cheesecake muffins, and blueberry muffins.

This recipe creates soft and buttery muffins, thanks to butter and sour cream. Creaming butter and sugar together creates a fluffy base, so these definitely aren’t your typical super dense muffins. Rather, they’re impeccably soft, just like vanilla cupcakes. Lots of little ingredients paired together create big-time flavor in this recipe. I adore cardamom for its versatility and often use it in chai spice inspired treats like these chai spice snickerdoodles. It’s easy to go overboard with a strong spice such as cardamom, but I find that 1 teaspoon was the perfect amount distributed among 1 dozen muffins.

  • By the way: If you’re not into any of today’s add-ins, simply swap them out. That’s what makes this base muffin recipe such a staple in my kitchen– the flavor possibilities are truly endless. Try blueberries instead of cranberries, add chocolate chips or white chocolate chips, leave out the spices, try pecans instead of walnuts, etc.

2 images of muffin batter in a muffin pan and baked muffins in a muffin pan

How To Make Cranberry Cardamom Spice Muffins

These come together in a snap– much needed when your holiday to-do list is a mile long.

  1. Whisk the dry ingredients together: flour, leaveners, spices, and salt.
  2. Mix the wet ingredients together: butter, sugar, eggs, sour cream, and vanilla extract.
  3. Combine the wet and dry ingredients & add milk and orange zest. Fold in the walnuts and cranberries.
  4. Spoon batter into muffin pan.
  5. Bake. These muffins take about 22-23 minutes.
  6. Make icing & drizzle onto muffins.

Quick Tip for Filling Your Muffin Pan

Fill the muffin pan all the way to the top with batter. Don’t be nervous about overflowing because we’ll start the muffins in an extremely hot oven. A hot burst of air will lift the muffins right up— and not out. Reducing the oven temperature after 5 minutes ensures the centers cook through while preventing the tops from burning. It’s a little trick I’ve been using for years and the super tall muffin tops never cease to amaze me!

cranberry cardamom spice muffins with orange icing on a white plate

Orange Icing

The icing is made from just 2 ingredients: confectioners’ sugar and orange juice. You’ll need the zest of an orange for the muffin batter, so cut that fruit open and juice it for the orange icing. The icing sets on top of the muffins after several minutes, creating an absolutely scrumptious icing “crust” on top. (!!!)

A couple other icings that would work: vanilla icing or the maple icing from my maple brown sugar cookies. So good.

cranberry cardamom spice muffins on a wood plate

More Favorite Muffin Recipes

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cranberry cardamom spice muffins with orange icing on a white plate

Cranberry Cardamom Spice Muffins

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 23 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 12 muffins
  • Category: Muffins
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Warm, soft, and fluffy cranberry cardamom spice muffins ready in 35 minutes!


Ingredients

  • 1 and 3/4 cups (220g) all-purpose flour (spoon & leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (120gsour cream
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) milk
  • zest of 1 orange
  • 1/2 cup (63g) chopped walnuts
  • 1 and 1/2 cups (187g) fresh or frozen cranberries (do not thaw if using frozen)

Orange Icing

  • 1 cup (120g) confectioners’ sugar
  • juice of 1 orange (about 3 Tablespoons)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F (218°C). Spray a 12-count muffin pan with nonstick spray or line with cupcake liners. Set aside.
  2. Make the muffins: In a large bowl, toss the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cardamom, cinnamon, and salt together. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl using a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on high speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute. Add the granulated sugar and beat on high until creamed, about 2 full minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed. Add the eggs, sour cream, and vanilla extract. Beat on medium speed for 1 minute, then turn up to high speed until the mixture is combined and creamy. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl as needed.
  4. Pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and beat on low speed until just about combined. Add the milk and orange zest and continue to beat on low until combined. Fold in the walnuts and cranberries.
  5. Spoon the batter evenly into each cup or liner, filling each all the way to the top. Bake the muffins for 5 minutes at 425°F (218°C) then, keeping the muffins in the oven, reduce the oven temperature to 350°F (177°C). Bake for an additional 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. The total time these muffins take in the oven is about 22-23 minutes, give or take. Allow the muffins to cool for 5 minutes in the muffin pan, then transfer to a wire rack and drizzle with icing.
  6. For the icing: Whisk the confectioners’ sugar and orange juice together. Drizzle over muffins.
  7. Muffins stay fresh stored in the refrigerator for 1 week.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead Instructions: For longer storage, freeze muffins (without glaze) for up to 3 months. Allow to thaw overnight in the refrigerator, then bring to room temperature or warm up in the microwave if desired. Glaze before serving.
  2. Special Tools (affiliate links): KitchenAid Stand Mixer, Muffin Liners, and Muffin Pan

Keywords: cranberry muffins, cranberry cardamom muffins

80 Comments

  1. Andrea @ Cooking with a Wallflower says:

    I often find the flavor of cardamom a little strong, but it does sound soo tempting with cranberries in a muffin. Plus, that icing! Since I already have all these ingredients at home, including cardamom, I might just have to try it soon. I’ll need something to snack on while prepping for Thanksgiving! I can’t believe Thanksgiving is next week! And I just love your tip about starting the muffin in an extremely hot oven. I’ll have to remember to do that!

    1. It’s an extremely potent spice, you’re absolutely right! 1 teaspoon over the whole batch is *just right* and I think you’ll love them!

  2. Gorgeous! I love anything cranberry, anything orange, and anything iced 😉 Thanks for sharing!

  3. Michaela @1001voyagesgourmands says:

    Wow, Sally, this look delicious! I love cardamom and citrus zest in cakes. I am saving this recipe and will definitely give a try! The pictures are wonderful! 🙂

  4. Tori//Gringalicious.com says:

    Hello yumminess!!!! These muffins look like exactly what my holiday season needs to kick off with!

  5. Marina @ A Dancer's Live-It says:

    Absolutely love cranberry muffins, and I would’ve never though to use cardamom in them either! I’m all for the “cranberry cardamuffin” name too. 😉 They look perfect!

  6. These muffins look cran-licious!  I’ve got everything I need to make these today without running to the store.  My favorite kind of recipe…….baking on a whim.
     A nice ending to the pot of chicken-corn chowder I’m about to start in the slow cooker.  And funny thing is, when I did my pantry fall clean-0ut/restocking spices……I found myself with almost a full bottle of Cardamom from last year.  I love the aroma/taste of Cardamom but never know what to make with the stuff.
    Thank you Sally.!!  OOH I bet this would pair nicely with Chai Tea tonight after supper. ☕️

    1. Warm and fresh out of the oven. CRANTASTIC !!!!!
      I did add 1/4 tsp Orange Extract to the glaze. I normally don’t sway from your recipes but it was sitting there all lonely in the dark pantry calling my name to join the cranberry partay…
      Another home run Sally.  
      PS I remembered why I had cardamom in the first place……for your chai spiced snickerdoodles which I made last year as part of my cookie gift giving. They were the most complimented cookies in the bunch!!
      Thank you Sally

      1. Crantastic!!! You are my favorite person for many reasons but mostly because you said crantastic 😉 I’m so happy you love them and those chai snickerdoodles are forever a favorite!

  7. My mom loves cranberry muffins – they’re not my personal favourite but your orange cranberry muffins are so good even I love them! These would be the perfect DIY gift to send my mom for Christmas, along in a cute new muffin tin. I have so much cardamom up in my cupboards I never use because not too many recipes call for it, it’s such an underrated spice! I’ve got to give those chai spiced snickerdoodles a try too – one of my favourite cookies is just the classic snickerdoodle 😉

    1. I totally agree that it’s underrated– I don’t use it nearly enough!

  8. Hello lovely! These look absolutely divine. I do have a question for you: My mother usually makes cranberry bread (out of the box, ick… I know it’s a time saver, but, i’m here to save her from processed box mixes!!) and I’ve been looking for a good homemade recipe. How would this fair if you would convert it into a loaf of “quick bread” instead of muffins? Thanks in advance as always for your expert wisdom advice and Happy Thanksgiving!

    1. Hi Angela! I suggest making my cranberry bread instead 🙂 

      1. As soon I sent this I was like DUH. I will do that!! One more question- what are your thoughts on adding the teaspoon of cardamom to your cranberry bread recipe? I’ve actually never tried the spice (unless I have and didn’t know it) so I don’t want to do anything to ruin your other recipe. Thank you thank you 🙂

      2. I’d absolutely add it to the bread. I love its flavor with orange and cranberry!

  9. Christy Stanford says:

    These look scrumptious, I can’t wait to try them! I always love to see recipes with cardamom in them because my favorite pumpkin cookies use it. I’m not a fan of chai anything though so that’s still just about the only recipe that I use it for, and for a while it was expensive.

    1. Well now you have a 2nd recipe!

  10. Shelby @ Go Eat and Repeat says:

    Yummy! These would be great to enjoy for breakfast on Thanksgiving morning! I have virtually nothing planned out, but then again, I’ll probably just do the same thing as last year!

  11. How do you think these would be frosted as cupcakes? And what frosting do you think would pair well? I’m looking for a cupcake recipe to make for thanksgiving and these look so perfect and beautiful!

    1. Deeeeelicious! I suggest a cream cheese frosting. Use this one: https://sallysbakingaddiction.com/2016/04/07/meyer-lemon-blueberry-cupcakes/

  12. Wow! This is a good way to spice-up cranberry muffins. I love the idea of using cardamom. The orange icing sounds interesting too. Thanks for sharing. I have to try this today.

  13. I want to say that I am impressed by your blogging frequency … you must work your tail off!! You rock!! Keep it coming I love everything!

    1. Thanks Jill, I really appreciate it!

  14. Sara @ Last Night's Feast says:

    This looks delicious!

  15. Patricia @Sweet and Strong says:

    These look so beautiful and delicious!  I love baking with cranberry this time of year.  And I was drooling over recipes last night when I was planning what to make on Thanksgiving and during my break, I had to shut the computer down because I was getting so hungry, lol.

  16. jennifer @ swtnsalty says:

    We received a tin of cardamom as a wedding favor but I had absolutely no idea what to do with it and it has been sitting in our cabinet for a 2 months. I’m so looking forward to trying this recipe over the weekend! This will be a first of your recipes I try this holiday season. Thank you!

    1. That’s so exciting, Jennifer! Let me know how you like them.

  17. These look so amazing! I will be making these for a Thanksgiving morning treat! I love using  cardamom in recipes! Thanks for sharing!! 

  18. Jessica Gensel says:

    These look like the perfect Thanksgiving breakfast/ snack item that I’ve been looking for! I have a guess that is severely allergic to all nuts, would it be okay to simply omit them from the recipe? Thanks again for another awesome muffin recipe!

    1. You can absolutely leave the walnuts out 🙂

  19. My DIL cannot have cinnamon. Do you think eliminating it would have a major impact on the overall recipe? Or what would you suggest replacing it with?

    1. Not at all– you can simply leave it out. The muffins have plenty of flavor! No need to replace with anything.

      1. Thank you. Looking forward to trying them.

      2. I was finally able to make these tonight. The whole family enjoyed.

  20. Tara | Treble in the Kitchen says:

    These sound like a PERFECT Thanksgiving breakfast/snack option.  Love the idea of cardamom…so spicy and comforting! 🙂

  21. Laura | Tutti Dolci says:

    These muffins are the prettiest! I adore these for Thanksgiving snacking!

  22. Hi Sally! 

    Have you ever tried these with pecans instead of walnuts? Or do they really need the earthier flavor of the walnuts to balance the sweet/tart thing going on here? 
    Thanks!

  23. Hi Sally, 

    Would it be okay to sub greek yogurt instead of sour cream in this recipe? I always have yogurt but I’m always out of sour cream when I need it! 

  24. I tried these and I had a fair amount of extra batter left over. Did you use an oversized muffin tin? The flavor of these is great! Sadly I overfilled my muffin liners so mine are not as pretty as yours.

    1. I didn’t– just a standard muffin pan. I’m glad you enjoy the flavor!

  25. Thanks for putting gms as well as cups . Can’t find eggs in ingredients list though . 

    1. After the sugar 🙂

  26. Good day Sally! What other spices can I use to replace cardamom? Or can I leave it out totally?
    Thank you!

  27. Hari Chandana says:

    These look super gorgeous. Can I use dried cranberries? 🙂

  28. These muffins are incredible ! The flavors of cardamon, orange and cranberry work SO well together. I had never baked with cardamon before, but I am definitely a fan now. Thanks Sally for my new favorite muffin recipe 🙂

  29. Christine Zuniga says:

    These are delicious!! Subtly sweet and spicy the glaze adds the extra something special so don’s skip it.

  30. Every Thanksgiving I make cranberry muffins for my family to eat while we watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.  This morning I used your recipe, Sally, and we were not disappointed!  They were the best muffins I have EVER made, and I’ve made a lot of muffins!  They are SO moist and flavorful!  And I loved how big they were!  Thank you so much for such a wonderful recipe!  My question to you is, can the high heat for the first five minutes technique be used for any muffin recipe?

    1. Hi Danielle! I always use that high heat trick with muffins– any muffins! So happy you loved these so much.

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